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Kathua and Unnao rape cases: What Modi needs to answer

The tone-deafness of the BJP government is ear-splitting.

 |  5-minute read |   11-04-2018
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Buildings get dilapidated, lakes dissipate, technology becomes obsolescent and the body crumbles. Even societies decay and a nation suffers from a carcinogenic disease, from which recovery is sometimes near-impossible.

Mostly, the consequences are fatal. Or at best an excruciatingly torturous revival. It is happening. It is happening to India. My grim pessimistic take is based on two horrific incidents that have through some uncanny happenstance occurred simultaneously.

A young girl of eight is repeatedly raped with barbaric cruelty in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir. It involves adult men, so imbued with seething hate, that they plotted the violent conspiracy to rape and kill an innocent child for ulterior gains. A religious body, in fact, protested against the formal lodging of a chargesheet against those who committed the dastardly crime.

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Several lawyers joined in to prevent the legal protocol to be effectuated. This stunning obstruction of justice and a brazen endorsement of child-rape had the public backing of two BJP ministers in the cabinet of chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. It is alleged that the bribery of police officers has emboldened the criminals and their raucous supporters. It was an astonishing manifestation of callousness in a society corroded of its moral texture, devoid of an iota of humanitarianism. 

When bloodletting of a frail child by vicious killers is okay and the government chooses to insidiously subvert fair investigations, then it signals the beginnings of a catastrophic societal collapse.

In Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, a similar savage gang-rape was perpetrated on a hapless 16-year-old girl. The culprits, of course, remained free. She begged for help. She cried. But the UP government refused to budge. Her father was severely thrashed by goons and relatives of the accused. The law-enforcement officers sniggered, watching the ruthless atrocity with sadistic delight. He died. As I write this, the terrified victim is being given protection, but the alleged rapist, a BJP MLA, is sauntering around with cool aplomb, unaffected by the sordid brouhaha it has caused.

The UP government has also withdrawn a rape case against a former BJP minister. This is straight out of the BJP playbook, sell phantom dreams of "acche din", while knowing deep-down inside that it is nothing but cockamamie. This is not just political hubris, it is willful treachery.

In a mature, civilised society, such feral acts of sexual humiliation on women would result in more than mere templated condemnation. There is a transient media scrutiny (till the next uproarious story) and fleeting public outrage on social media where hashtags trend.  

It is astounding that the government chooses to turn a blind eye to daylight subversion of law, where the police officers are themselves accused of being hand in glove with the nauseating sinners. It is a manifestation of impending apocalyptic doom, if the powerful establishment is working overtime to protect its own criminal den.

Crude vulgar violence against women is becoming quotidian under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose characteristic sloganeering fetish has produced "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao", which seems like a cruel travesty, a sleight of hand meant to mislead unsuspecting people into believing that the government cares.  

India is fed up of such cosmetic equivocation that is only advertising arsenal for Modi and his party. It is political immorality scraping bottomless depths. Doublespeak and vapid rhetoric are spoken from podiums by politicians who have zero commitment to fighting for women’s rights, which are human rights, incidentally.

Modi waxes grandiloquently on GST, FDI and Make In India, but is mysteriously mealy-mouthed when it comes to India’s falling performance in gender disparity index . He remains on the mute button on the rising incidence of ugly crimes against women happening most disconcertingly in BJP-ruled states.

The system is brazenly suborned to suit the protégés of the political masters. We are being told to live in a psycho-bubble of statistical gobbledygook and a feel-good mirage, mostly manufactured by government mandarins. It keeps the prime-time buzzing and creates bespoke headlines. But what about our right to life, equality, safety, mutual respect, tolerance, secularism and oneness?

Life’s most valuable assets are intangible and immeasurable and cannot be quantified in business models and Sensex market capitalisation. 

Modi’s falsetto speeches with the melodramatic flourishes have run their course. So, tomorrow Modi tries another act of political showmanship and will go on fast, which can be called as ad absurdum. Seriously, what is he protesting against? Himself, and his government’s inept, incompetent and ineffective governance?

India has moved beyond 2014 when Modi usurped power on the back of fragile falsehoods that he knew was only like a snake-oil salesman’s pitch. 

I hope when Modi is basking in the concentrated attention of TV cameras tomorrow, he hears the desperate muffled cries of the poor child, sedated and sexually molested by a rapacious mob, struggling for life. Or the frantic shout for help of an aggrieved father pleading for punishment of those predators who defiled his daughter.

The tone-deafness of his government is ear-splitting. Modi may yet be supercilious enough to believe that he can change employment data, GDP numbers, launch fanciful schemes and sell his pseudo-nationalistic demagoguery to win elections, but he may have already destroyed more than a country.

He may have destroyed the soul of a great nation.

Also read: By shielding MLA accused of rape, BJP is propagating misogyny of the worst kind

 

Writer

Sanjay Jha Sanjay Jha @jhasanjay

National Spokesperson of the Indian National Congress party. Co-author, The Superstar Syndrome.

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